Guest Traveller Anne Lee’s holiday to Cape Town and the Kruger National Park in South Africa was a surprise 60th birthday present for her best friend. It was Anne’s sixth trip to South Africa. Her friend, Paula, had not travelled overseas in 40 years. Paula loves animals so, Anne thought, let’s go and see the African animals in the wild, particularly the Big Five, most dangerous animals. This is their story…
Our first stop was Table Mountain, the flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town. To get there, we caught the Aerial Cableway cable car. It takes just five minutes to ascend and when you get off and walk around you are welcomed by 360-degree views of Cape Town and the coast line.
Our next stop was our highlight. Our flight from Cape Town went directly into Skukuza where we were met by our transfer into the Kruger National Park for Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. OMG, this is out of this world. We stayed at Earth Lodge. You can see how close we came to the animals from the elephant photo … he was just outside our suite which can be seen in the background.
We travelled in an open-top, four-wheel-drive, Range Rover. It had tiered seating, a guide, and a tracker who took his seat on the front bull-bar of the vehicle. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve has been running these tours for more than 20 years. The animals didn’t bother our vehicle at all and we got right up close to the animals. No zoom lenses were needed but we had to obey rules which forbade us to stand up, or speak loudly, as this can upset the animals. We saw a male leopard just sitting in the dry river bed after he had eaten an Impala. He has a scratch on his nose from a fight with another leopard. We also saw a female Rhinoceros and her calf feeding. The land was in very bad drought when we visited in September 2016 and food was scarce.
Anne’s Top Five Tips for Travelling in South Africa:
- To get your bearings in Cape Town, travel on the City Sightseeing ‘Hop On and Hop Off’ bus. It is an excellent way to see the area and you then can get off and discover more.
- Take the cable car up to Table Mountain in the afternoon when they aren’t as busy.
- Go to a reputable Game Reserve. It’s so worth the money. Other four-wheel drive vehicles cannot go off-road to track the animals and have to stay on the road. It makes for better viewing.
- Tipping is essential and the minimum is 10 per cent on the total value of the meal or beverage.
- Tipping to rangers, guides, waiters, and so on, is between 10 and 15 per cent.
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